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Herb Spotlight - Lemon Balm

Herb Spotlight - Motherwort - Sun God Medicinals

Lemon Balm (Melissa oficinalis)

Family: Lamiaceae

Part Used: Aerial parts

Flavor/Aroma: Sweet, Sour

Energetics: Cooling, Drying


Herbal Actions: 

Febrifuge, Nervine, Thymoleptic, Amphoteric, Antimicrobial, Diaphoretic, Sedative, Antiviral,  Carminative, Antispasmodic, Stimulent, Antioxidant, Analgesic, Antibacterial, Tonifying

Overview:

Lemon Balm is characterized by its vibrant, fruity aroma and flavor, and her ability to lift our moods with just a sniff. It has traditionally been used by the ancient Romans and Greeks to flavor wines and elixirs that were said to enhance the emotions and mend a broken heart.

Botany:

Lemon Balm is a bushy, perennial herb that blooms pale yellow, white, or blue flowers in the peak summer months. Its leaves are bright green, wrinkle textured, slightly fuzzy, and give off a pungent citrus aroma. Lemon Balm grows best as a border herb in modern gardens, but is easily adapted to most soil types.

Cultivation and Harvesting:

Lemon Balm is native to southern Europe, and has since been naturalized in most of the United States. It is also native to regions of the Middle East including Iran, and in parts of northern Africa as well.¹  

Southern Oregon Cultivation:

Lemon Balm is a prime citrus-flavored addition to any culinarians garden, and it thrives in the Rogue Valley’s temperate climate. Its flowers provide local pollinators with nutritious sustenance, and its leaves will brighten up any cup of tea.

History and Folklore:

Lemon Balm was used most iconically as a remedy to stubborn fevers, lift moods of adults and children alike, and to calm the nervous system. It was used to mend a broken heart, and was said to help attract new love.

In 14th century France, Carmelite, a digestive tonic containing lemon balm, lemon peel, nutmeg, and angelica root, was regularly consumed to soothe gastric upsets- it is still available today! 4 

Traditional Middle Eastern Uses: A bath of Lemon Balm was used to support healthy skin and a strong heart. It was used internally and topically to promote relaxation, uplift the mood, remedy fevers, and as a digestive tonic.

Melissa is Greek for ‘Honeybee’, named after the princess who first discovered how to collect honey from bees.4

Modern Applications:

Lemon Balm is indicated to support the nervous system while moving through depression, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, mental fatigue, headaches, and migraines.³ It is also used to remedy convulsive coughs and asthma symptoms, irregular heart palpitations, a variety of digestive upsets including dyspepsia, flatulence, nausea and vomiting. Lemon balm is used for acute fevers, excessive sexual excitement, menopausal symptoms, and is safe for use for children. It is used topically to treat burns, rashes, and other inflammatory skin conditions. It is indicated to support both hypo and hyperthyroidism², teething and colic in babies, and to soothe systemic inflammation.5  

Uses and Preparations:

Dried Herb Tea Preparation: 

1 Tablespoon per cup of water.

Using a reusable tea bag or tea ball, immerse the loose dried herbs into boiling water and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes, preferably covered, in order to release the maximum amount of herbal goodness. Some herbal tea can carry a strong flavor. We recommend organic honey as a sweetener which preserves the beneficial herbal compounds. 

Tincture: 

2-4 mL up to 4 times per day.

Some herbal tinctures can have a strong flavor on their own. Adding your tincture to a glass of 6-8oz of water is one easy way to help, should you wish to dilute the flavor.  

Dosage:

It is important to remember that some bodies may react differently than others when using herbal products. Our recommended dosages are designed to be an average dosage only. If you have specific concerns about the dosage amount or interaction with other medication, please consult with your doctor or health care practitioner prior to using our products.  

Precautions:

Lemon Balm is safe for tonic use. We recommend consulting with your practitioner if you are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant, or if you are using any other medications.  

References:

  1. Melissa. (U. S. P). (n.d.). www.henriettes-herb.com/products/lemon-balm/profile 
  2. Ardalani, H., Alipour, M., Noroozi, M., Jandaghi, P. (June 26, 2016). Lemon Balm: A promising herbal therapy for patients with borderline hyperlipidemia- A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27261994 
  3. Kiani, S., Miraj, S., Rafieian-Kopaei, Kiani, S. (July 22, 2017). Melissa officinalis L: A Review Study With an Antioxidant Prospective. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27620926 
  4. Lemon Balm. www.mountianroseherbs.com/products/lemon-balm/profile 
  5. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://cms.herbalgram.org/expandedE/LemonBalm.html

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.